Monthly Archives: July 2017



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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Kristin Sievert!

Kristin Sievert (KESinMN, #6020) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a Beginner Level Glamping Merit Badge!

“We’d been camping a couple times with a new tent. But it really wasn’t something I was enjoying, so I decided I might as well trying to “glamp” it up before heading out for a family resort get-together in July.

I started with the bed. I thought maybe something visually appealing might help, so I finished up the quilt speedy quick.

I also dug out a king-sized set of sheets (the sheets had pilled) I kept around for a large supply of fabric the same color—just in case. Since the color matched my quilt, I was in luck. I cut the sheets and modified them to fit my queen air mattress. I sewed the flat sheet directly to the bottom edge of the new fitted sheet.

While I was in the sewing room digging around, I came across some pareos that we had purchased as a possible source of fabric for the kids’ travel quilts. The idea was discarded, but not the pareos. I sewed some long lengths of miscellaneous ribbon from the stash across both ends. I used the ribbon to tie the fabric up using the existing “thingies” at the top of the tent to create a “non-load-bearing wall.” It gave me a way to create a second area in the tent.

My “non-load-bearing wall” was to be my bathroom in the tent. I decorated a “luggable loo” in a complementary contact paper and put that behind the fabric wall.

I felt lighting was always kind of a pain in the wahoo. Digging around in the middle of the night for your headlamp was not fun. So I came across this cheap LED light we got from the bank or something. I tied more ribbon on the light, then again used the “thingies” on the tent ceiling.

The quilt was good, but with a silky sleeping bag, it just didn’t work. Will need to try something else.

The modified sheets worked GREAT! They stayed in place on the mattress and the flat sheet sewn on kept it tucked in all weekend.

I am particularly thrilled with my “non-load-bearing wall.” I was able to play quite a bit with its placement in the tent due to the long lengths of ribbon and where the “thingies” were along the tent ceiling. I left it right in place when we rolled up the tent.

A decorated portable biffy wasn’t going to make or break the experience, but it was a girly thing!

The free LED light was rather funky. If it started spinning, it was like a disco ball effect! I was able to adjust the height with ribbon, so we got it just right. Being able to just sit up in bed and find the light was beyond successful.”




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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Gone to the Birds, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,420 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,782 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Garden Gate/Gone to the Birds Beginner Level Merit Badge, I read aloud to Piper the requirements for earning her Beginner Level Merit Badge:

“Keep a diary (of words or pictures) of the birds that visit your yard or park. Watch them for two weeks, keeping notes of which ones come and go.”

Pipes was all about this badge. She loves her feathered friends, and she’s a sucker for a new journal. She also has a pair of binoculars she loves to wear around her neck (it’s an adventure keeping them separate from her strands of beads and charm necklaces and boas, but she manages somehow). She spent the next two weeks, sometimes perched on her window-seat, sometimes disguised as a giant sunflower in her yard, sometimes up in a tree wearing her brother’s camouflage britches, carefully spying and eyeing and drawing and writing. Then she allowed me to read her findings before I handed over her badge …

Piper’s Birdies:

Day One: Two lovebirds spotted in willow tree. Well, I thought they were lovebirds, but they seemed mad at each other, so maybe not. Also, one robin, hopping. Thought he had a broken foot, but I think he was only doing bird yoga or something, cuz he flew off when I tried to rescue him.

Days Two and Three: Yoga Robin, and three hummingbirds! They like the red drink Mom gave them, so I made them more. I mixed ketchup with water. It didn’t turn out like I hoped (I tried it. It was DISGUSTING!), but they seemed to like it okay.

Days Four and Five and Six: One suspicious-looking pigeon. Note to self: Follow this pigeon. See what he’s up to.

Days Seven and Eight: Followed pigeon to his lair. I mean, nest. Shared my sandwich with him. Think I’ll call him Fred.

Days Nine and Ten: Hummingbirds came back. I was out of ketchup, so I used mustard. Pretty color. Hummingbirds don’t like it though. Trying dill relish next.


Days Eleven and Twelve: One penguin, two ostriches, and four toucans. Hahaha! Just kidding, Aunty. Just making sure you’re still reading.

Days Thirteen and Fourteen: Hey, fourteen is two weeks! I’m going to keep this journal going, though. Today, I saw Fred and the two bickering lovebirds again. There was also a bunch of crows that flew overheard. Mom said that’s a murder. But I think she’s exaggerating. I didn’t see any murder.

Piper’s journal was quite entertaining, as I’m sure you will agree, and she had illustrations, to boot. However, she wouldn’t let me include them here.

“Royalties, Aunty,” she explained. “And I don’t want anyone stealing my artistic style, don’tchaknow?”

I agreed to her demands (no illustrations and a piece of cake), but you can imagine how delightful the sketchings were. Except for the murderous crows … that was a tad bit disturbing.

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While you may or may not be guilty of this egregious and oh-so-grievous sin, you probably have been in close proximity to one who has.

So close.

So very, very close.

Close enough for them to step on your sore feet, willy-nilly.


intransitive verb


  1. :  to dance or tread clumsily

Photo by Tomascastelazo via Wikimedia Commons.

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Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Ginger Dawn Harman!

Ginger Dawn Harman (Ginger Dawn, #6451) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level My Fair Farmgirl Merit Badge!

“1. Research the difference between cruelty-free and organic health and beauty products versus commercially made.
2. As I run out of each product, I replace it with a healthy, preferably organic version. Examples: toothpaste, shampoo, body lotion.
3. I made lip balm and bath salts.

I found this badge very interesting since I just finished reading about how much work is involved when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is tasked with regulating cosmetics.

Many can be very sneaky with their labels. For example, “Natural” may be one of the vaguest claims in use today. The FDA states that, “From a food science perspective, it’s difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer a product of the earth.” So, the FDA doesn’t attempt to define the term “natural” in respect to food or cosmetics at this time.

It’s safe to say that even though people may be led to perceive so-called “natural” products as safer or healthier, that may not be the case. There are plenty of natural things that come from the earth that just are not good for us. Two items that quickly come to mind are lead and asbestos, both of which we wouldn’t want in our cosmetics.

The “organic” claim is currently governed for agricultural products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). “The FDA does not define or regulate the term ‘organic,’ as it applies to cosmetics, body care, or personal care products,” according to the USDA Agricultural Marketing service, which oversees the National Organic Program (NOP). The USDA/NOP will, however, allow the use of the “USDA Organic” logo if the product is made up of agricultural ingredients and can meet the organic production, handling, processing, and labeling standards set by the USDA/NOP. All of the entities who supply ingredients, handle, or are part of the manufacturing process of the product must be certified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent. Once certified, products are broken down into categories—100% organic, organic, and made with organic ingredients. Products made with less than 95% organic ingredients are not eligible to display the USDA Organic logo on their packaging.

A product labeled as “synthetic-free” contains no man-made ingredients to speak of—it’s 100% made of naturally occurring elements or compounds.

Also I learned about that Leaping Bunny label! That’s a Leaping Bunny certification, which means that none of the product’s ingredients were tested on animals. Another thing to note is that in 2013, Europe banned animal testing on all cosmetics manufactured and sold in the region. Some states in the U.S. have begun to make similar initiatives—but all cosmetic companies that sell in China are required to test on animals, according to the country’s laws, which means that a lot of major brands still test. This makes me rather sad!

I have started using Aveda products and several of my Farmgirl Sisterhood gals in the area swap have sent me handmade soap and have given me instructions on how to make them. I have made the bath salts and lip balm. That was a bit messy, but lots of fun! I love making bath salts and they are such a great gift! Here’s how …

2 cups epsom salts
1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup sea salt (optional)
30 drops of lavender essential oils
10 drops of peppermint essential oil

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Store in an air-tight jar and use 1/4 cup per bath.

I hope that each of my Farmgirl Sisters give this a try!”

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